Monday, 27 October 2014

12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave is a popular film that has won many awards such as an Oscar, a BAFTA and a Golden Globes award. When watching the film, it is clear to see why it has impressed so many people.

12 Years a Slave takes on the subject of African American slavery and shows it from the perspective of the slave instead of the white master. The effects this has on the viewers is that they feel sympathy for the slaves and are resentful towards the white owners. This isn't the case for all of the white characters though as Ford and other men are admired for helping Solomon.

My initial reaction to this film was sadness for Solomon and the rest of the slaves as they had their whole lives taken away from them.  This emotion developed after reflecting on the movie as I realised that this was seen as socially acceptable in America and people were treated as badly as the film portrayed. What shocked me most about the film was that the character of Solomon was a respected man at the beginning and was treated equally to any white man living in New York. Going from this idea that we see in the present day to being downgraded and treated like an animal made me feel very distressed as it presented the idea that it could happen to anyone.

Due to the fact that 12 Years a Slave is a film which means it is created to keep viewers interested, we have to take into consideration that it might only show the worst parts of slavery and not the boring daily routines slaves would have to tolerate. This therefore means that the film is not completely reliable at showing us how African American slaves lived and were treated. The story of Solomon is also the representation of one character and even though we meet other slaves, we do not follow their story lines completely so we do not know the positions they were all in.

Overall I think that 12 Years a Slave is a very good method of showing audiences how African American slaves were treated, however we cannot fully trust the film to be an accurate representation of this as it is made for the purpose of keeping viewers engaged and therefore it only shows the most dramatic parts of slavery. This isn't a film that I would like to see again as it is deeply upsetting to watch however I believe that everyone should watch it once to gain an idea of how badly African Americans were treated.


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